To objectify someone is often described as what happens when they are seen as an object. And when this takes a place, they are not seen as a human being who has feelings or their own cognitions for example, they are just a physical body.
Here another person may well be seen as an object that one has to control and manipulate in order to meet their needs and wants. And this is something that can take many forms and has been around for a very long time.
In The Past
One of the biggest examples from the past is slavery and how people were controlled and abused. That these people had their own feelings, thoughts, wants, needs or preferences was irrelevant. All that truly mattered was that they did what the controllers wanted and fulfilled their aims and objectives.
Another area of objectification that has been going on for many, many years is the objectification of women. When this occurs, they are no longer seen as human beings who have many different aspects to them.
As a result of this, a woman is seen as nothing more than object of pleasure and a way for a man to experience sexual gratification. Everything else that a woman brings to the world is then dismissed.
The Modern Day
While these things have probably gone on since the dawn of humanity, they are still going on today in one form or another. What may have changed are the ways and the style of the objectification.
And in the modern day world, there is the help of the mainstream media to assist in objectifying others. One can read about others or see them on TV and while they are also fellow human beings, they are often seen as objects. The internet can also add to this process.
Through this, one can intellectually come to conclude that they know someone as a result of reading about them or seeing pictures of them.
When one authentically connects to another human being, there is the body, the heart and the mind. And they give and receive different things. Together these enable one to relate to another person as a fellow human being and not as an object.
But when it comes to how the media works for example, this whole way of connecting doesn’t always take place. For some people it will be on the odd occasion and for others it will be a constant.
A figure from the media can then become someone who doesn’t have feelings and emotions like everyone else, they are just an image or an idea that one forms in their head. And is then a screen or a surface for one to project their inner issues onto.
In order to see another person as more than an object, one has to have some kind of connection to their own heart. It is here that one connects to their feelings and how one empathises with another.
If one has become cut off from these things, it is going to either a challenge or impossible to see that others have feelings or to have empathy. Although the heart has its physical benefits that are well known in the world, it also plays a part in so much more than just the physical side of things.
And like just about anything in life, the heart is often affected by both healthy and unhealthy experiences. This means that the heart is not passive or separate from life.
No matter who one is or where they are from, pain will always be experienced. Now, for some people this will be more traumatic than others. And people react and deal with pain in different ways.
Experiences that are traumatic in one’s life, can lead to one closing their hearts for a long period of time or until the moment they pass on. It could also be an experience that although it is not traumatic, through being exposed to the experience for so long, one stops feeling any longer.
And painful experiences can also lead to feelings of powerlessness and of having no control. One way of going about this is to deal with the feelings directly. If this doesn’t take place, then other people will be controlled and manipulated as a way to regulate these emotional experiences.
The media for example, is constantly filling the minds of millions with a steady stream of pain and trauma. And while it is important to have awareness of what’s going on, it is not so important that one should then become emotionally dead and traumatised in the process.
One doesn’t close their hearts because they are a bad, weak or evil, it is done as a way for one to protect themselves. If having feelings is too painful, becoming numb and emotionally dead can be seen as the only solution.
A Whole Human Being
And if one cannot feel in a healthy and functional way, not only can it lead to the objectification of others, but one can also see themselves as an object.
If one is not functioning as a whole human being or doesn’t see themselves as a whole human being; it is going to be highly unlikely that they will be able to see another as one either. As how one sees others is simply a reflection of how one views themselves.
The Heart needs to be protected and looked after and not just through eating the right foods or getting enough exercise. One needs to monitor how much they expose themselves to the pain or suffering of others.
This is not to say that one lives in denial that such things exist, but that one is aware of how they are being affected by it. Grieving past hurts and traumas are also important when it comes to having emotional intelligence and an open heart.
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.